BUSINESS
07/13/2012 03:54 pm ET

Bob Diario, Tinley Park Canine Officer, Allowed To Pursue Unpaid Overtime Claims For Dog Care

One police officer is suing his town, claiming he's owed overtime wages for taking care of his police dog.

Bob Diario claims that his village, Tinley Park, owes him overtime pay for caring for the police unit's service dog, Thor, Courthouse News reports. And a judge recently ruled that he has the right to pursue those claims at a minimum. U.S. District Judge John Tharp Jr. said it was "plausible" that Dario isn't fully-covered for the time he spends feeding, boarding, grooming, transporting and training Thor, who's soon to retire.

While Tharp added that the final ruling will depend on a number of factors relating Diario’s compensation, his chances seem favorable given past cases. A 2010 case in Tennessee, for example, ruled in favor of an officer who had not been compensated for the time he spent caring for a service dog, finding that “time spent by canine officers administering medications, feeding and training their dogs, and cleaning the kennel are subject to compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and must be paid as regular overtime.”

Just last month, two canine officers in Pittsburgh also issued a complaint against their police unit alleging unpaid overtime, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

But canine officers are far from the only employees who’ve been claiming unpaid overtime as of late. Over the last 11 years, class-action lawsuits alleging wage and hour violations have risen 400 percent, CNNMoney reports. This year alone, Rite Aid, Walmart and IBM have paid millions of dollars to settle claims of not paying overtime.

Police officers across the country have also alleged that they aren't getting paid enough overtime for other tasks either. This week, the Richmond City Council announced that it would soon vote on whether to spend $7 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 600 current and former police officers alleging unpaid overtime.

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